Contractor license requirements vary by state. Licenses are issued at the state or local levels and are usually valid only in the state that they are issued. Not all states require general contractors to be licensed. Most states require licensing to work in the following fields: plumbing, electrical, HVAC, hydronics or refrigeration. Fines may be imposed for accepting work without a license.
Find out the licensing requirements for your state. The Contractors License.org website lists state by state licensing requirements. Click on any state to see the requirements and which local department issues the license. Basic requirements include must be at least 18 years old, obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency, documentation of any other occupational license you hold and two passport-size photos.
Study for licensing testing. Most states require a test of specific skills and business knowledge before issuing a license. Study books are available for preparation of the test.
Complete an application and any required testing at your local licensing agency. Many agencies will require a fee for licensing. Licensing is valid for various time periods, be sure to inquire about the requirements to maintain your license.
Certain states require general contractors to also be bonded.
There is an online database available to see who currently holds licenses.